The Year in Quotes
© AFP

“It was like a husband cheating on his wife, but seeing as he cares for her and doesn’t have the courage to admit to it, he climbed out the window.”
Massimo Moratti on Jose Mourinho leaving Inter Milan

“I’ve never admitted to it, but it’s true. I was not very well, I was poorly at half-time but I carried on. The ball went down the left-hand side, I did try to tackle someone, I stretched and then I ‘relaxed myself'. It was messy, it just came out. I was very fortunate it rained that night and I could do something about it - you can see me rubbing the ground like a dog. It was the most horrendous experience of my life. But I never found so much space in a game than I did that night after that happened!”
Gary Lineker on being caught short in England's Italy 1990 opener against Republic of Ireland

"Coaching Boca is like having sex with the windows open - you have no intimacy."
Claudio Borghi after vacating Los Xeneizes’ hot-seat

“A few days ago I went to buy a pizza and bumped into a friend I hadn’t seen for years who was working as a delivery guy. He asked if I could give him a job, telling me that he couldn't stand the pressure, how he had to get things delivered in 30 minutes, jump red lights, deal with furious clients and so on. That’s when you realise how lucky you are to have a wonderful job like this.”
Slaven Bilic, Croatia coach

“I can assure you that Giuseppe Rossi never nutmegged me – if he had, he wouldn't be able to walk anymore!”
Giorgio Chiellini responds to his Italy team-mate’s post-training session claims

“I remember so many nights sleeping on the streets. When I look at what’s happened, it’s like sport’s version of Cinderella. All the sacrifices have proved worth it. Football can change lives.”
Bebe after joining Manchester United

“I don't think I’ve changed my style. It's true that before I never passed the ball, but I never pass it now either.”
Mauro Zarate of Lazio

“I'm a coach, I'm not Harry Potter. He is magical, but in reality there is no magic. Magic is fiction and football is real.”
Jose Mourinho

"Sometimes I let myself be mistaken for my brother. But I do it so I don't make people feel bad and because people don't believe me if I deny it. We never did it with girls though, I swear!"
Ramiro Funes Mori, a River Plate reserve, on the club’s man of the moment and his twin brother, Rogelio

“We rode in open-top cars all the way to the Grand Place in Brussels, where a black, yellow and red tide of people gave us a triumphant reception. I think I even signed the chest of a woman who, just like us, was carried away with it all!”
Jean-Marie Pfaff to FIFA.com on
Belgium’s return home after reaching the Mexico 1986 semis

"I couldn't believe it - I thought it was a wind-up. I have been dreaming of it since I was a little boy. In the summer I was in the supermarket getting stuff to decorate the house for the World Cup, and now to be a part of it is just amazing.”
Kevin Davies on receiving his maiden England call-up at the age of 33

“I had to endure ten very difficult years. On a personal level I lost both status and spending power: I had to sell my Mercedes Benz and start catching the bus!”
Sergio Markarian, the Peru coach, to FIFA.com on his decision to quit a well-paid job to pursue a career in the dugout

"It is like when you are a farmer. You want to bring as much hay into your stall as possible for a long winter. That's what we are trying to do."
Roberto di Matteo, West Bromwich Albion manager

“A problem in my heart compels me to retire, but my heart still beats for Real Madrid.”
Ruben De La Red

"Bale was unstoppable and was playing against Maicon, rated by many as the best [right-back] in the world. It's like you're a boxer knocking everybody out, but it only counts when you do it against the top people. Well, he has done it against the champion. He gave him to most torrid time you would ever wish to see.”
Harry Redknapp on Gareth Bale’s performance against Inter Milan

“I go jogging in the mornings and one day the kids who were going to school waved at me. A gentleman shouted, ‘We are all with you'. You remember how Rocky trained with the kids running behind him? Well, I felt like Rocky.”
Federico Marchetti, who has been left in exile by Cagliari since expressing a desire to join Sampdoria in the summer

“If Pep told me to throw myself off the third tier of Camp Nou, I'd think, 'there must be something good down there'.”
Dani Alves on Pep Guardiola

“Some people cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar."
Rafa Benitez suggests, in curious fashion, that Roy Hodgson is not seeing things clearly at Liverpool